Cultural treat for Kangaroos’ opener at Parra

Rugby league fans could be forgiven for thinking they are on a South Pacific Island when they experience more than entertaining football at the Four Nations tournament at Parramatta Stadium this Sunday.

The curtain-raiser between Tonga and Samoa will feature a range of entertainment involving local cultural groups before, during and after the match, while the main Test between Australia and Papua New Guinea, will also recognise the Kumuls’ culture and the variety of other cultures in western Sydney.

The Tonga/ Samoa clash, which was a spectacular, physical encounter when last played in Sydney during the 2008 World Cup, will kick off at 1pm, with the Kangaroos’ opening match of the Four Nations starting at 4pm. It will be their only match in Sydney.

The Four Nations event also involves England and New Zealand with matches being played in both Australia and New Zealand over a three-week period, culminating in the Final at Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium on November 13.

The Samoan national anthem will be sung by a group of 30 members of the Samoan Seventh day Adventist Church Mt Druitt supported by their brass band and their Church choir. It is the only Samoan church in Sydney with an active brass band and choir combination.

The 40-member All Saints Catholic Hall Liverpool “Tongan Brass Band and Choir” will sing the Tongan national anthem.

The half-time entertainment by the Prairewood High School Fairfield “Samoan Cultural Group” and Prairewood High School Fairfield “Samoan Cultural Group” will give the school students the opportunity to share the stories of their ancestors through action dances.

During the game, Oceania Pacifica, a dance group made up of Pacific Islanders including Samoan and Tongan performers from the Sydney community, will fill the air with the beat of log drums.

The post-match entertainment will feature music and dance scenes from a play called Reach, voted the best Pacific Island performance at the 2010 Sydney Pacific Awards.

The pre-match entertainment for the Kangaroos v Kumuls match will feature performances by the Papua New Guinea Community Group “Sydney and Wollongong” (traditional and contemporary dance); Shannon Williams aka Brother Black (singing “More than a feeling”); and Diji’Dance (an indigenous song and dance group).

The PNG Community Group will also sing the Kumuls’ national anthem; while Angel Tupai, of Samoan heritage, will sing the Australian anthem

The Huli Wigmen tribe, from the remote Southern Highlands in PNG will provide the half-time entertainment, along with the Schools Spectacular Boys Hip Hop Ensemble, which is a unique dance program made up of 50 male students, aged 13-18, representing 25 different ethnic groups from NSW Public Schools from western Sydney and beyond.